A question for those of you who do a lot of straight condemnation work: do you drive roads and highways with a slightly different outlook than the rest of the motoring public, especially on those roads where you represented a property owner defending against eminent domain? While others see signs and intersections and the like, is your focus instead on your owners' (former) property, the construction easements, the appraisals, and the issues you argued in the taking case?
Call us weird, but that's how we drive "our" roads.
Recently, we had that old deja vu because we were in the neighborhood of a road in which we represented two of the condemned. The courthouse in Kona on the Big Island is a stone's throw from a County of Hawaii road project, only recently completed, that was one of our mostly hotly contested eminent domain cases, one that resulted in three published opinions from the Hawaii Supreme Court, one of which was a ruling on how a property owner goes about proving that a taking ostensibly for a public use is instead for private benefit. See also this opinion and this one. And a U.S. Supreme Court cert petition (denied). We also represented other "downstream" property owners in the project who contested the amount of compensation offered by the County.
Budget Rent-a-Car did not have the Ford Focus we had reserved, and instead provided us this beast:
So after our hearing at the Kona courthouse concluded (a land use case on remand from the Hawaii Supreme Court) -- with Lalo Schifrin's brassy "Shifting Gears" from the Bullitt soundtrack in our heads -- and after meeting up with a long-time correspondent interested in Big Island road projects, we decided to take a drive down the new Mamalahoa Bypass Road on the (former) properties of our (former) clients.
One of our legal team's internal mantras during the public use challenge case was that "there is no road." As the above video shows, today there definitely is a road. We just see it in a very different way than our fellow motorists.
Not a bad view, either, even though the blue Pacific Ocean is somewhat obscured by vog.